Mawon

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Mawon is the Haitian Kreyòl word for maroon, meaning "escaped slave".

The French encountered many forms of slave resistance during the seventeenth and eighteenth centuries. The African slaves that fled to remote mountainous areas were called mawon. The mawon formed close-knit communities which practiced small-scale agriculture and hunting. Mawons were known for sneaking back to their plantations to free family members and friends. They also joined the Taino settlements on a few occasions, who escaped the Spanish in the seventeenth century. Certain mawon factions became formidable enough that they made treaties with local colonial authorities, sometimes negotiating their own independence in exchange for helping to hunt down other escaped slaves.

Other slave resistance efforts against the French plantation system were more direct. The mawon leader Mackandal led an unsuccessful movement to poison the drinking water of the plantation owners in the 1750s. Another mawon named Boukman declared war on the French plantation owners in 1791, sparking off the Haïtian Revolution.

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